Namibia is an upper-middle-income country with perennial food deficits, where recurrent natural disasters with cyclical drought and floods severely affect people’s livelihoods. High rates of chronic malnutrition are linked to food insecurity and structural poverty.
Sustained economic growth between 2000 and 2015 has not translated into reducing poverty, and income disparity levels remain among the highest in the world. In 2016 the poverty rate stood at 18% and unemployment at 29.9% of the total labour force, affecting mostly the youth and women.
With an HIV prevalence rate of 13.5% – the sixth highest in the world – Namibia has been hit hard by the “triple threat” of HIV, tuberculosis and malnutrition.
Food security is affected by extreme variability in levels of food production, dependency on large volumes of coarse grain imports and disparity in household income levels.
In 2016, a National Drought Emergency was declared. As a result of drought, more than 560,000 people are food insecure and in need of food assistance for survival. About 1.5 million people rely on subsistence farming.
As food assistance activities are undertaken directly by the government, WFP's focus has shifted to providing technical assistance to strengthen government capacity and manage food security activities for vulnerable people, including school children.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Namibia
WFP provides technical advice and policy guidance on food assistance management, nutrition, and standards and procedures for food assistance programming.
Since 2012, WFP and the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture have been collaborating to improve the Namibian School Feeding Programme, which provides nutritious daily mid-morning meals to 330,000 primary school children.
In 2012, WFP and the Office of the Prime Minister established a partnership to strengthen government capacity to assess, plan and respond to emergency food needs resulting from natural disasters and other shocks. Under this partnership framework, WFP supports the government in the areas of food security analysis, food security/food management systems strengthening, capacity building and Programme Support.